Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Returns to the UK Paying £393.8m


London: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has touched down on British soil for the first time since she was detained in Iran six years ago.

Wearing a blue dress and a yellow scarf, the colours of Ukraine, Zaghari-Ratcliffe stepped off a government-chartered flight from Oman at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Alongside 44-year-old Zaghari-Ratcliffe as she disembarked was fellow British-Iranian Anoosheh Ashoori, 67, who was also released from jail in Iran on Wednesday.

They walked across the tarmac together, gesturing to photographers, before entering the airport building for a private reunion with their families.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe was seen hugging her seven-year-old daughter, Gabriella, inside the reception building. She carried the little girl in her arms as they were surrounded by other family members, including her husband, Richard, who campaigned for years for her release.

Gabriella was heard asking “is that mummy?’’ as her mother disembarked the flight at Brize Norton, according to a video shared on Instagram by Anoosheh Ashoori’s daughter, Elika. Later in the video, Richard Ratcliffe shakes Anoosheh Ashoori’s hand, before Ashoori is reunited with his tearful family.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe appears in the video and hugs and kisses her daughter, while also embracing members of the Ashoori family.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Ashoori, who was detained in Evin prison for almost five years, were accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government and of spying respectively.

A third British detainee, Morad Tahbaz, has been released from prison on furlough but remains in Iran. All three deny the charges.

Truss said on Thursday morning that the government would “continue to work intensively’’ for the freedom of Tahbaz.

As part of negotiations for their release, the UK is understood to have agreed to pay £393.8m owed to Iran after it cancelled an order of Chieftain tanks following the overthrow of the Shah in the revolution of 1979. The details of the deal were hammered out in secret talks in February largely in Oman between a British Foreign Office team and the Iranians. With trust between the two countries at a low point, every aspect of the deal, including its choreography, had to be agreed upon.

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